THE ROUNDABOUT beautification work in Panchkula got caught in yet another controversy when an audio between Executive Engineer (XEN) LC Chauhan, in charge of the work, and the Municipal Engineer (ME) MS Dhariwal, went viral on Thursday. In the audio, Chauhan is heard telling Dhariwal “DNIT (detailed notice inviting tender) jo tayar kari us time ek hafte ka jo mujhe SE ka charge diya tha us dauran..Itne pressure mein sign karvaye gaye hain ki CM announcement hai (I was made to sign the DNIT under pressure when I was given the charge of SE for a week).”
To this, Dhariwal replies, “Sab ne hi pressure mein kiye hai sign to (Everyone has signed under pressure).” Chauhan is heard saying that the DNIT had already been prepared before he joined. “Jab technical sanction hui thi na, main to tab sign karvane aaya tha…usse pehle to maine chaukon ko dekha tak bhi nai tha (It was after the technical sanction that I had come to get the signs. I hadn’t even seen the rounadbaouts before that),” ME replied.
Chauhan says he has gone into the details. Chauhan then questions Dhariwal, “HSR (Haryana schedule of rates) NS (non-chedule) jo bhi hai…usme kuch kuch jagah kuch cheezon mein rate usse bhi zada jo haina dikha rakhe hain (The rates are even higher than HSR at some places).” However, Dhariwal replies, “Nahi aisa to nahi hoga wo to yehi teh karta hai…Sharma (the rates are decided by Devinder Sharma, an MC official).”
“Nahi to fir ye Sharma ne change kiye hain fir ..Sakumbari wala fir mila hua hai iske sath (Then they must have been changed by Sharma, Sakumbari, the firm managing the roundabout work, must be hand in glove with him),” the executive engineer replied.
Chauhan went on to level allegations against the company M/S Sakumbari Engineering Works. “Dekho ye bahut bada fraud hai…bahut bada cheater hai ye Sakumbari wala …gaushala wale mein bhi iska jo haina…maine kaam roka tha ..suspend kiya tha ..aur iska kaam maine reject bhi kiya tha.”
The executive engineer is heard saying that he had 19 years of clean service record. “Main to bada neat and clean naukri karke aaya hun…19 saal ka record mein kahin ungli nahi uthne di…par yahan…pata nahi kaisa department hai…JE ME ka responsibility accountability hoti hai..unhone agar sign kiye hain to soch samajh k kiye honge ..humne usko aage approve diya hai (I have 19 years of clean record but things are different here.. but JE, ME are responsible. They must have thought through this decision),” he said.
The ME then replied that he too has worked for 32 years but “yahan hume chor kehalva diya (But they are calling us thieves now)”. The XEN then says, “Main aata hun tumhare pass…us Devinder Sharma ko bhi leke aao…or JE ko bhi bulao..or wo DNIT mere ko dikhao zara…arre maine to… us time to Commisioner sahab bhi bole yar abhi kardo…abhi kardo .. koi baat nahi..(I will come to you, summon devinder Sharma as well, I want to see the DNIT as well, that time the commissioner also said do it right away).”
Chauhan added that tenders were called in November 2017 and DNIT was prepared much before that. To this, ME Dhariwal replied that DNIT was changed two-three times.
When contacted, ME Dhariwal refused to comment on the audio. “I don’t know why the executive engineer is doing this. I was just doing my duty.” Chauhan, on his part, said, “It was after I came to know that the payment was made in my absence that I called up the ME. As I said that DNIT was prepared much before I was to join. About the pressure, here I am talking about the time pressure.”
The XEN added that now he feels that he is being framed. Reacting to Chauhan’s allegations against Sakumbari, Sandeep Sharma, its proprietor, said the XEN is “doing all this to save himself”. “I don’t know who has made him the XEN. He is himself recording things and sending these out to public to save himself. I can just say that I have done all the work with honesty,” Sharma added.
Sandeep Sharma also sent a written statement to Newsline saying that “Intentionally, he and his firm were being maligned”. Sharma said he has already suffered a loss of Rs 36 lakh in this roundabout work. MC Commissioner Rajesh Jogpal did not respond to calls or mails. After Chandigarh Newsline highlighted various irregularities in the roundabout beautification work, Urban Local Bodies Minister Kavita Jain had ordered a probe. Vishal Seth, Technical Advisor, Urban Local bodies, Haryana, concluded his probe on Wednesday, but the report is yet to be submitted to Jain. Seth, too, had found serious financial and procedural irregularities in the beautification work. His report mentions that the project had caused a loss of Rs 1.25 crore to the Municipal Corporation.
Congress workers detained
Congress workers were detained from near Sector 2 where they were protesting against the roundabout beautification scam. The workers were protesting as Haryana CM’s visit was scheduled in Sector 1.